What to eat at work to keep you from weight gain
If office biscuits, mid-afternoon snacking and business lunches are ruining your waist - not to mention your bottom line - now is the perfect time to turn those figures around.
You need to approach your diet the same way you approach your work - with a firm, well-planned strategy. Here’s how:
Bust the workload
If your boss is piling on the work - not to mention the pressure - you’re more likely to resort to unhealthy eating. You may be skipping breakfast to get to the office early, piling up on sugar and caffeine to get through the day and grabbing snacks and takeaways because you’re too tired to cook in the evening.
Take stock of your workload and determine whether you can do anything to make things easier. If there’s really no alternative to long hours and pressing deadlines for a week or two, use our other tips to manage the short-term situation.
Hoard the healthy
Save yourself from the office biscuit tin, or vending machine, by stocking up on healthy snacks - and displaying them on your desk in the most tempting way you can dream up.
Pile a colourful variety of ripe fruit into an attractive bowl, fill a pretty biscuit tin with rice cakes and create your own nut, seed and dried fruit jar. Turn your healthy snacks into a treat, rather than a penance, and you’re much more likely to stay away from the chocolate.
Plan your lunches
You wouldn’t start a new project without getting organised first - why do the same with your health?
Plan a series of healthy, varied lunches for the week and make sure you have beautiful lunch box or flask to pack them in.
The smartest way of doing this is to tie it in with your evening meals. Cook up extra veggies and then use them to whiz up soup for the next day. Or if you’re eating chicken fajitas? Cook enough chicken and veg for an extra wrap to pop in your bag the next morning.
Measure out an extra portion of rice - cool it quickly after cooking and you can stir it into a light mixed salad.
Whatever you choose, put fruit and veg at the heart of your lunch planning, topping up with lean protein such as chicken, turkey or fish, and reducing the carbs to a small portion.
All too often, thirst is mistaken for hunger pangs. Keep a chilled bottle of water on your desk and sip little and often - it will keep you away from sugary soda too.
If you feel tempted to snack, have a drink and wait 20 minutes. If you’re still hungry, listen to your body and reach for one of your healthy treats.
A word here about tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Lots of full-fat milk and sugar really add up over a long day. Take your drinks black or switch to skimmed milk, ditch the sugar and consider healthier alternatives such as fruit, green, oolong or white teas.
Ditch the drinks
Sometimes, it’s not what you consume at work that’s the problem - it’s the post-work drinks with colleagues.
Alcohol is packed with calories - and it’s also more likely to make you forget all your good intentions when it comes to a healthy dinner. It’s all too easy to grab a greasy snack in the bar, not to mention a takeaway on the way home.
Set yourself a one-drink rule and switch from calorific beers and sweet cocktails to spirits with low-calorie mixers. It also makes it easier to blend in with the team - who’s to know if you’re drinking vodka and tonic, or just a plain tonic?
Think of your new plan as a professional project and give it the same care and attention you would to your work. Your assets will be attracting lots of credit in no time.